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Notes from Day 1 of the NHL Draft

Before going any further, please head over to Winging it in Motown and read my post about interviewing Riley Sheahan. Again, I’d like to thank Casey Richey and SB Nation for making it possible for me to be there. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun — and being able to Tweet the picks to you as they happened, and live chat the event, was one of the highlights of my year. I was very impressed with the newest Red Wing — he seems like a mature, down-to-earth kid and I’m looking forward to keeping tabs on him in the coming years.

Mock drafts are whack. If you created a computer program that randomized all the possible permutations of how the first round would unfold, it’d take about six years for it to come up with what transpired on Friday. Cam Fowler dropping nine slots; Brandon Gormley, Nick Bjugstad, Brock Nelson, and Mark Pysyk dropping 5-10 slots; Jaden Schwartz and Dylan McIlrath launching themselves up 15-20 picks; Joey Hishon, Kevin Hayes, Mark Visentin, and Charlie Coyle…ya know…being there.

Homeboy from Entourage is about 4 foot 3 up close.

There was a startling lack of trades on Draft Day, much of them pick-swapping. The only names that changed addresses from the draft floor were Keith Ballard (Florida to Vancouver), Steve Bernier & Michael Grabner (going the other way), and Dan Hamhuis (Philadelphia to Pittsburgh).

I heard a rumor early in the day that an announcement was going to be made that Jonathan Quick had been traded to Philadelphia. That announcement never came, and now there are rumblings that Evgeni Nabokov’s free agency rights may end up in Philadelphia.

There was also talk that Detroit would move back in the draft — much like they did last year. A quote I grabbed from Jim Nill (“there were four or five guys we liked”) seemed to indicate that if they could scoot down a few slots and get one of those guys, opening the door for a “bonus draft pick” — like the one they used last year to select Andrej Nestrasil (the used their own second round pick on Tomas Tatar). It wasn’t in the cards, and — to hear Nill tell it — they wanted Sheahan bad enough to stand pat.

When the Kings traded up to get into the 15th pick, the crowd went apeshit. Everyone and their brother thought they were making the move to draft local boy Emerson Etem, which would have caused the Staples Center to collapse under the noise and vibration that would have been created by the rapid Kings fans. It wasn’t to be, and the Kings took Derek Forbort, a defenseman that had been sliding.

Frankly, Emerson Etem went right about where he should have. Not that I wouldn’t have loved him in red and white (because, backstage, he was a really friendly kid and seemed like his head is screwed on straight), but it would have been a slight reach in my opinion.

Phoenix, one of the two teams that was highest on goaltender Jack Campbell, traded up to take a goalie — but it wasn’t the next-highest rated Calvin Pickard. They took Mark Visentin instead and it’s a curious pick. Like Fowler, you have to wonder if the teams know something the rest of us don’t (I mean, obviously they do, but I mean specifics that aren’t public knowledge) about Pickard.

Sad story about suprise first round pick Jaden Schwartz: he’s allowed to treat hockey as secondary while his sister Mandi battles leukemia and desperately searches for a bone marrow donor.

New Nashville Predator Austin Watson is the oldest of nine (soon to be ten) siblings. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the newest Hurricane Jeffrey Skinner is the fifth of six siblings.

:: Nick Bjugstad (Florida Panthers, 19)’s uncle Scott played nine years in the NHL with the Minnesota North Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, and LA Kings.
:: Jarred Tinordi (Montreal Canadiens, 22) is the son of former North Star, Capital, and Ranger Mark Tinordi.
:: Kevin Hayes (Chicago Blackhawks, 24) is the younger brother of Jimmy Hayes, who was a second round pick of the Maple Leafs in ’08. He’s also second cousins of Tom Fitzgerald and Keith Tkachuk.
:: Charlie Coyle (San Jose Sharks, 28) is Tony Amonte’s cousin.
:: Brock Nelson (Chicago Blackhawks, 30) is hockey royalty. His uncle, Dave Christian, was a member of the Miracle on Ice squad. His grandfather, Billy Christian, and great uncle, Roger Christian, played on the “forgotten miracle” squad of 1960. Another great uncle, Gordon Christian, won a Silver Medal in 1956.

Best available for Day 2 of the Draft:
1. John McFarland — the one-time projected top pick in this draft.
2. Jon Merrill — the massive, Michigan-born and Wolverine-bound defenseman.
3. Kiril Kabanov — the enigmatic, attitude-laden super talent.
4. Tyler Pitlick — best name nominee of the future.
5. Stanislav Galiev — Russian playing in the Q and is the 2nd rated Q prospect. 
6. Calvin Picard — second hickest sounding goalie name behind brother Chet.
7. Brock Beukeboom — Jeff’s son. 
8. Ludvig Rensfeldt — top rated Swede.
9. Alexander Petrovic — another Russian player playing Canadian Juniors. 
10. Tyler Toffoli — might be related to me in some sort of twisted Italian way.
I’ll be at Day 2 of the NHL Draft today until I’ve got to run to the airport and head back to New York, so stay tuned for more Red Wings news!
Photo Credit: Harry How, Getty Images

3 thoughts on “Notes from Day 1 of the NHL Draft”

  1. I'm still totally jealous you got to go out for that. I'd love to do that some day.

    Few things I disagree with though..

    I don't think Nelson really dropped, he was kind of in the early second range (along with Hayes). Coyle was considered a late first/early second too, not nearly the same surprise as Visentin (3rd/4th round).

    I think Etem was absolutely a drop, never saw him going as low as 29. Central Scouting had him at 8, TSN had him at 17 and that was considered pretty low. Rankings are rankings and the draft is the draft though, so it's all pretty irrelevant at this point anyway.

    Friend to Landon and Willie, Alex Petrovic isn't a Russian, just a good ol' western Canadian boy.

    Good stuff though, looking forward to the interviews you can dig up on these guys. Maybe you can get near the Wings draft table and put in the good word for me ;).

  2. Hey Kyle,

    Thanks for the note dude! My crappy attempt at humor re: Petrovic totally didn't work at 3am. My bad. But you're absolutely right — a lot of the guys I was sitting with thought he might end up a Duck at the bottom of the first round. Oh well.

    Maybe he's around at 51. That'd be dope.

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